Thursday, January 22, 2015

CONTENTS

The "highlighted" link is the one most recently modified.



WORKAMPING WITHOUT A TOW CAR -

SIGHTSEEING -
      
LOCATIONS WITH GOOD PUBIC TRANSIT -

Places Where You Can Bike or Walk  -

Stories from Others Who Don't Tow a Car 

EMERGENCIES and Creative Situations -

RENTAL CARS   -Added HERTZ Rental information.


RENTAL CARS


 I am changing the name of this section to "RENTAL CARS."  Most of my experience has been with
Enterprise, as they pick you up.  However, I want to add a section on renting from Hertz.


INSURANCE ISSUES

I'm at the point where having a car that I store in a garage while I travel in my RV is starting to become inconvenient.  I have come home to dead batteries a couple times. .One time, I was able to start the car with a device such as this one, and another time, I was unable to start it, and had to have it towed to a dealer.  So, I am researching the idea of not owning a separate car (which would save me on storage rental charges, as I could downsize) and just using rentals when I need one, even when I'm at my "home" area and not technically traveling.  I ran the numbers, and NOT owning a car may not necessarily save money. The reason is that if you do not own a car and you rent a car, you really should buy the "optional" insurance which is pretty pricey.  Or you could take your chances and not buy the optional insurance.  When you own a car and carry insurance, the insurance usually transfers to a rental car.

I contacted one major insurance carrier to inquire about getting an insurance policy to drive rental cars, and was told that there is "no such policy."  I did some googling, I found this:  Non-Owner Car Insurance .  According to this article, "Non Owner Car Insurance" only covers liability if you are at fault.  It doesn't cover the actual vehicle, because you don't own the car.  Therefore, if you have the "non-owner" insurance, you can decline the "optional" liability insurance on a rental, but you should still take the "optional" collision and comprehensive.

On the other hand, major credit cards may or may not have adequate coverage.  This article explains some of the benefits.

Bottom line, between the Non-Owner car insurance and what your major credit card may or may not offer, there may still be "gaps" in the coverage which suggest you should consider paying the rental car insurance, even if the rates are totally ridiculous.  

I am continuing to research this.






HERTZ

To my knowledge, Hertz doesn't pick you up.  But, if you can take alternate transportation to get a car from HERTZ, AAA Motor Club has great discounts.  Pretty easy to reserve from the AAA web site:

RESERVE A HERTZ CAR HERE

Make your reservation and pick out a promo code.  There were a lot of codes to choose from for a variety of discounts. What I liked was that you didn't have to give out a whole lot of personal information.   I once took a county bus from where I was staying to a HERTZ location, this worked out fine for me.


 ENTERPRISE


ENTERPRISE Rent A Car will either pick you up and get you to their office, or they will drive the car to you. Click here and enter the city and state you are currently located to get office hours for your location.

The only issue I have with Enterprise is that their current practice is to pass your phone number to a third party that will contact you after your rental for "market research." When I rented a car in Spokane, I screamed and stamped my feet and said, "I don't want the call" and I never got it. When I rented in Grants Pass, I tried to scream and stamp my feet and I was told, "we don't have any control over this." My understanding, under the DO NOT CALL rules, is that if you insist that you are on the DO NOT CALL list, and you insist that you don't want to be called, they are obligated to honor that request. I sent a formal complaint to the Regional Office, and I was told I was put on their internal "Do Not Call" list. However, the manager who did this for me didn't know whether the internal list covered nationwide, or whether it covered just that Region.

IOWA
DES MOINES/ALTOONA, IA
While working at  Adventureland in Iowa     I made frequent use of  Enterprise on Euclid Avenue.  I walked to the RV park office and had them pick me up there.

COLORADO
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
In May 2011, I stayed at  Fountain Creek RV Park in Colorado Springs.  The branch office is on the same street as this campground.  Car got delivered to me, no problem.  The office was a couple miles from the campground.

NORTH CAROLINA
RALEIGH, NC
In December 2011, I stayed at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds on Blue Ridge Road.  There is a branch office right around the corner on Hillsborough Street.  It's 2/3 of a mile to walk to this office if you are in the mood to walk.                  





OREGON

GRANTS PASS, OR

There is a good selection of RV Parks in Grants Pass ( http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions/Oregon/Grants_Pass.html ) where cars can be delivered to you. The two closest RV parks are Jack's Landing and Rogue Valley Overnighters.
NEWPORT, OR

There is an Enterprise site in Newport. Here are some RV parks available. I haven't personally stayed at any of these sites, just noting that it's there.

WASHINGTON

ANACORTES, WA
You can stay at either:
Fidalgo Bay RV Resort
or
Pioneer Trails RV Resort
and have Enterprise deliver a car to you for the duration of your stay.

SPOKANE, WA

If you stay at Riverside State Park, there is an Enterprise office at 1426 East Francis Avenue. This office indicated to me that they were the closest to the State Park and can pick you up. I tried this option. I called in advance and THOUGHT I had made a reservation, and was even quoted a final price, but somehow I didn't get a confirmation number. I called on the day of pickup and found out I didn't have a reservation, but no problem, plenty of cars, they will redo the reservation. I showed up and called for them to pick me up. They picked me up, no problem. I got to the office, and STILL no reservation, but no problem, plenty of cars, they will give me a car for the price quoted. Despite the reservation snafu, I got a car, a PT Cruiser. THEN! I show up at the State Park. Park Ranger tells me that the rental car is ok, as it is within the "one RV and one car" allowance. However, the Camp Host told me that since I did not TOW the car in, it was considered an "extra vehicle" and I would have to pay the "extra vehicle" fee. NO WAY! The Park Ranger over-ruled that one! Other than the snafus, everything went fine. I returned the car the night before I left, and left the next morning.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

ALTERNATE VEHICLES

WAYS TO GET AROUND WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A TOW CAR
ELECTRIC BIKE/SCOOTER
EGO
I own an electric bike that I bought from a company currently located in California ( www.egovehicles.com ). I ordered it straight from them. (NOTE:  This company had temporarily gone out of business, but is now back in business, headquartered in Atascadero, CA!)  However, you MAY be able to get this bike locally if your city has a VESPA scooter dealer. VESPA Scooter dealers may carry the EGO bikes. This bike has two speeds, FAST and FAR. Fast goes about... 25 mph, more or less. FAR goes about 15 mph, more or less. The bike will go up to 25 miles on a charge. The great thing about this bike is that the charging cord is the cord from a desktop computer! When I got my bike, I called the EGOVEHICLE company and asked, and they said, indeed it was! I happen to have two extra cords from old computers, so now I have a total of three cords to use for charging cords.
Most of the parts on this scooter are bicycle parts. Replacement parts can be obtained at bicycle shops. But I do want to make one recommendation on the tires:

1. If the front tire goes flat or has any other problems, any bike shop can fix that.
2. If the rear tire has problems, you should take it to an authorized dealer, because fixing the rear tire involves messing with the drive belt. Bike shops aren't qualified to deal with this.
The best thing about this bike is that, in most states it does not require a license. (Check with your state to be sure.) My state indicated it's considered the same as a Segway, no license required.
One negative thing about this bike is that it does not do well on gravel or dirt roads. Since the bike uses regular bicycle parts, you may be able to get around this by using mountain bike tires, but I'm not sure if there are any that fit this bike.

On one of my trips, I had to take my cat to the vet on this bike! Kitty did not appreciate the ride. I put kitty in his carrier, put the carrier perpendicular to the foot rest area, and then I had to "hug" the carrier with my legs to hold it in place, and ride that way. Kitty howled the whole way, but I got him there.

As of 2014, I have owned this bike for ten years.  The battery finally went POOF, plus I had some minor issues I wanted fixed.  Luckily, I was in Gold Beach, OR, which just happened to be 137 miles from Eureka, CA, which had an authorized repair place, Henderson Center Bicycles.  They did a good job of replacing my battery, which was the largest cost, plus some other minor repairs I needed, about $600 worth of work.  My bike is practically new again!  

EVT
This is another electric scooter. I'm not as familiar with these. ( http://www.evtworld.com/scooters.html ) You would need a sturdy carrier on the back of the RV to carry these. Like the EGO, it would not require a license in most states, but check with your state just to be sure.


LIBERTY BIKES
Here is another type of electric scooter. ( http://iloveebikes.com/ ) It appears that some of these models can be folded up, and some would need a sturdy carrier on the back of the RV. I'm  not sure about licensing for the larger models.  Check with your state just to be sure.

LICENSING REQUIREMENTS:

My current state, Washington, does not require a license for electric scooters. I also rode it in Oregon without a licensing requirement.   I did run into two states that required licensing:  North Dakota in 2012 (I didn't take the scooter to North Dakota because of this) and Iowa in 2014.  In Iowa, I paid $7 for a one year license while I was working the summer in Altoona.  Iowa's law is pretty clear:   Iowa Law on Motorized Bicycles                   
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These bikes require a sturdy carrier on the back of the RV. The EVT is heavier than the EGO, so the carrier used will have to keep weight limits in mind. The carrier I am currently using is a Blue OX carrier, with a ramp that tilts. Although this carrier appears to have been made for handicapped scooters, such as "Hoverround," etc., it works for my bike. Further, the entire carrier folds up when I take the bike off the carrier. Why did I select this particular bike carrier? The RV dealer got it for me. Here is what happened: Previously, I had a 30 foot RV with a very nice heavy duty carrier that did NOT "fold up." I currently store my RV in a covered storage area meant for 30 foot RV's, but the carrier caused the RV to "stick out at the end a little" in the storage area. The owner/manager of the storage area was ok with this, as long as I didn't stick out too far and cause people not to be able to drive around. When I traded for the RV you see in the picture (which is a 31 foot RV), I knew that the one extra foot, along with the heavy duty carrier I was using, was going to "push the envelope" with the owner/manager of the place where I store my RV, and I would have to pay more money and move to a longer storage area. So, I told the RV dealer that "making the deal" was contingent on them finding a solution to my "RV storage" problem. The dealer found this carrier, and threw it in the deal at no extra charge.

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GAS SCOOTERS - These require a license.

VESPA
These are great little scooters that get good gas mileage. ( http://www.vespausa.com/ ) However, you will need a sturdy carrier on the back of the RV to carry these.
PIAGGIO
Another great little scooter that get good gas mileage. ( http://www.piaggiousa.com/ ) However, you will need a sturdy carrier on the back of the RV to carry these.
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CONVERT AN EXISTING BIKE


At one RV park where I stayed, the camp hosts, Babe and Chris, converted a mountain bike to an electric bike using an E-Bike Kit.


The top picture is the Lithium battery they ordered from some place in China.  The bottom picture is the complete set up.  Chris said it was really easy to install.




OR.......... THIS ALTERNATE IDEA!

Just own an RV that is small enough to drive as a car (posted from one of the blog readers).
 
AND.......... HERE IS ANOTHER GREAT IDEA!

Would you believe......... used bumper cars from an amusement park can be made street legal if you put them on top of motorcycle motors?





Yes, you read  that right; these little beasties are street legal. They run on either   Kawasaki or Honda motorcycle engines and co-opt vintage bumper car bodies into  the most awesome form of mini-car we've seen in too long.  There are seven  of these little monsters floating around California, and they're all the  creation of one man, Tom Wright, a builder in the outskirts of San  Diego who figured the leftovers of the Long Beach Pike amusement park  needed a more dignified end than the trash heap.  They were originally  powered by two cylinder Harley Davidson Motorcycle engines but they rattled  like heck because of the two cylinder vibration and Tom replaces them with  four cylinder Honda or  Kawasaki 750's and a couple have been measured as  capable of 160 MPH, which is terrifyingly fast in machines with such a short  wheelbase.  By the way, they are almost  indestructible in accidents!